23 episodes

The SEA4 Podcast aims to bring the stories of refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and their American-born descendants into the mainstream. By focusing on athletes and other accomplished individuals who have overcome adversity we hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams. John Messina and Ko Chandetka from the Lao American Sports Hall of Fame will be interviewing athletes and others who represent the diverse cultures of Southeast Asia including Lao, Laotian, Khmu, Khmer, Hmong, Vietnamese, Lu Mien, Cham, and others.

SEA4 Podcast: Southeast Asian Athlete Achievement > Adversity Lao American Sports Hall of Fame

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

The SEA4 Podcast aims to bring the stories of refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and their American-born descendants into the mainstream. By focusing on athletes and other accomplished individuals who have overcome adversity we hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams. John Messina and Ko Chandetka from the Lao American Sports Hall of Fame will be interviewing athletes and others who represent the diverse cultures of Southeast Asia including Lao, Laotian, Khmu, Khmer, Hmong, Vietnamese, Lu Mien, Cham, and others.

    Ben Nguyen: Vietnamese American MMA Fighter

    Ben Nguyen: Vietnamese American MMA Fighter

    They may say that “nice guys finish last” but Ben Nguyen proves that sometimes it’s the good guy who comes out on top.  After the war in Vietnam Ben’s family settled in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where they rebuilt their lives from scratch as refugees. Ben was bullied as a child so his mother signed him up for taekwondo.  From his early days practicing in a church basement to stepping into the UFC cage, Ben has been fighting his way through adversity.  In 2014 a video of Ben knocking out an opponent in 25 seconds who had tried to bully him at a prefight press conference went viral.  Ben now trains alongside his wife, Australian fighter April Adams, and proudly represents his Vietnamese heritage in the sport that he loves.  

    https://www.instagram.com/ben10mma/?hl=en

    https://www.facebook.com/Ben10MMA


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    • 58 min
    David Phrathep: Lao American baseball player and medical student

    David Phrathep: Lao American baseball player and medical student

    Arnold Schwarzenegger's six rules for success are, trust yourself, break some rules, don’t be afraid to fail, work like hell and give something back. The first time David Phrathep stepped onto the baseball field he was the underdog. From being told that he wasn’t cut out for little league to taking a shot as a college walk-on, David used that negative energy as fuel and became the first know Lao-American to play at the NCAA Division 1 level. Behind his success was a supportive family that did everything they could to help their son stay on a successful path all while learning to navigate through life in a new country and culture.  David’s baseball career is behind him and he now looks forward to giving back to his Lao community as a medical doctor.  

    Video footage/photos courtesy of the University of Central Florida Athletics Department

    https://www.laoamericansports.com/david-davy-phrathep

    https://www.instagram.com/dphrathep/?hl=en


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    • 54 min
    Christa Camvongcau Atwood: Laotian American Airline pilot

    Christa Camvongcau Atwood: Laotian American Airline pilot

    When it comes to chasing your dream, they say, “it’s not the destination but the journey”.  Pilot Christa Camvongcau Atwood is on the journey of a lifetime, chasing her dream from destination to destination through the skies. From her humble beginnings as a refugee to taking the controls of an A320 Christa is breaking down barriers in a male-dominated industry. Her story shows us that when it comes to dreams, not even the sky is the limit. She now dreams of passing her passion on to the next generation.  


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    • 56 min
    Linda Sayavongchanh: Basketball Player & NCAA D1 Coach

    Linda Sayavongchanh: Basketball Player & NCAA D1 Coach

    Linda Sayavongchanh was introduced to basketball in elementary school, a sport that was foreign to her parents who had recently resettled in America as refugees from Laos. At Des Moines-Lincoln High School she would score a staggering 1,630 points, be crowned Miss Iowa Basketball and was named Gatorade player of the year before signing with Drake University.  After an amazing college career with the Drake Bulldogs she would continue pursuing her passion, this time through coaching. Linda recently wrapped up an accomplished coaching tenure with Creighton University and is currently an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with Indiana University. Identified by the Des Moines Register as one Iowa’s top 50 female basketball players of all time Linda is a member of the Lincoln High School Hall of Fame, the Iowa Girls High School Hall of Fame and of course, the Lao American Sports Hall of Fame. 

    https://www.laoamericansports.com/linda-sayavongchanh

    Music: Summer 1984-RKVC




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    • 43 min
    Nara Sihavong: Wrestler, coach, entrepreneur & philanthropist.

    Nara Sihavong: Wrestler, coach, entrepreneur & philanthropist.

    When we featured Folkstyle national champion and Stanford University wrestler Dawson Sihavong as a rising star in the Lao American Sports Hall of Fame it quickly became apparent that Dawson’s journey to the top began a generation earlier in war-torn Laos. Nara Sihavong came to the United States as a refugee in 1978. A mere seven years later he made history when in 1985 he joined the wrestling team at George Mason University and became the first known Lao American to compete at the NCAA Division I level.  Nara would go on to have a successful career, founding companies and building philanthropy organizations all while giving back to the sport that he loves.  For over 30 years Nara has helped a new generation of wrestlers achieve their dreams including his own son, Dawson.  
    Music: Summer of 1984-RKVC
    https://www.laoamericansports.com/dawson-sihavong

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    • 59 min
    Maria Balang: 1st Lao-Lahu IFBB Bikini Pro

    Maria Balang: 1st Lao-Lahu IFBB Bikini Pro

    Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “in our society, the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits.  That’s exactly what Maria Balang did.  Maria started working out to get in shape but soon found herself on the stage competing against women half her age.  This mother of four would go on to capture one of bodybuilding top honors, earning her IFBB pro card in the ultra-completive bikini division.  Maria’s accomplishments are not just a source of pride for her family but for her people, the Lahu. The Lahu are an ethnic group that lives in southern China and the golden triangle area of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar.  Maria was among a small group of Lahu from Laos who settled in America as refugees after the secret war and shows us that the only limits are those in our minds.  

    Music: Summer 1984 -RTKV

    www.laoamericansports.com

    https://www.facebook.com/Maria-Balang-1st-Lahu-Female-IFBB-Bikini-PRO-CompetitorFitness-Athlete-243299929379701

    https://www.instagram.com/officialmariabalang/?hl=en


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    • 46 min

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